Hi, i recentely moveds to new york,
i came hear via my school to improve my english,
and i ahve some questions,
does everybody in usa pronounce pan and pen the same?
i've heard it was just in some places like where i'm now, but watching tv i found that most people pronounce them the same, this is confusing for me , i don't know how come that i'm not able to pronounce pad as p@d anymore , i just keep saying ped instead, but i do pronounce pat as p@t
and i was just thinking that maybe i has always been that way and i just realized.
another thing is the word strip that everbory over here pronounces as "stSrip", i didn't believe it, i thounght it was just my non-native ears ,
then i asked a couple of natives and they told me that i was right, and i've heard true as tSru: also, what is that od's sake?
To judge by the way your write, I suspect that your pronunciation is no screaming hell. I would not assume that the locals cannot speak their own language, but rather that you have trouble distinguishing certain souncs. With a lot of hard work you should be able to improve. They are not going to change.
dear steve k,
i think it's obvious that those are typo's,
what i said is true, i have no problem distinguishing those sounds,
and as you must know new yorkers do pronounce pan as pen,
read my question again,
by the way you write, not
the way your write.
I think it's purely a New York thing. eg: yeah is pronounced /y@/. I doubt you would find this pen/pan pronunciation elsewhere in the US.
New Yorkers tend to draw out long vowels like the e and u in "here" and "rude." The Southern drawls and some Midwestern accents draw out short vowels of "pan-pen" and "bad-bed" the way you describe it.
In various parts of the US, the vowels of pan, pen, and pin are changed
by local dialects so that some of the three words are pronounced the
same way. This is in no small measure due to the nasal 'n' which has
the ability to change the pronunciation of vowels before it. These vowel
mergers cause absolutely no difficulty for the speakers who are used to them. So if you are a non-native speaker in the area, you will need to
adjust to this pronunciation. It is an unavoidable aspect of a native speaker's pronunciation.
Pan and pen have separate vowels in all variants of standard English. These vowels are phonemic and present in innumerable thousands of minimal pairs, so anyone who confuses them is likely to be difficult to understand.
Many New Yorkers do not have a standard American pronunciation and should never be used as models. There are a few other areas of the U.S. in the same category, such as Boston, and much of the southern U.S. has a very strong accent that is arguably quite non-standard and often makes a poor impression outside that region of the U.S. (it sounds "stupid" to other Americans).
That's childish and backward of "other" Americans, if that's the case. After all, anything outside of one's region or country, that sounds foreign, could accordingly be perceived as "stupid". But that's how hegemony goes, I suppose, to those with delusions of grandeur. Until one day...
The reason that southern US accents are sometimes perceived as
uneducated is not merely that they are different. The speech rate tends
to be slower, and the vowels change in a way that makes them sound
more like a child's pronunciation. Also, several nonstandard constructions
are widely used, such as "I'm real glad to see you" and double-negative constructions.
A diplomatic response somewhat, but only in isolation. Consider nonstandard constructions in the Midwest.
Do you find that midwestern accents/dialects (the kind that they parody in
the movie Fargo or on the Prarie Home Companion radio show) to sound
uneducated? I don't think find them to be that way. They just sound
foreign. There is some quality of Southern US accents that sounds
particularly uneducated. I'm not saying the pople are uneducated; only that
they are more likely to come across that way.
I'm not the only person who feels this way; there are several companies
which offer classes on how to reduce your southern accent. The main
selling point of these classes is the promise that other people will take you
The perception that Southerners are uneducated, at least, is supported by the facts. That does not necessarily make them stupid, but to many people ignorance and stupidity are one and the same, and in any case, being ignorant is hardly a good thing. For example, the Southern states have the highest rates of illiteracy and the lowest rates of general education of any region of the U.S., and this has consistently been the case for a very long time.
I find uneducated-sounding babble in all accents and dialects, Midwestern parlance included. I know how many Americans find the southern US accent, but don't you think this is petty bias? People may choose to lose their southern accent, not for the hell of it, but in order to assimilate with those with this prejudice. Therefore, this adjustment makes sense, if they move to areas where they encounter this prejudice. Likewise, foreigners adapt to their new surroundings in the same vein.
On the other, you find politicians like John Edwards and former president Bill Clinton(!), who are highly intelligent. They've maintained their southern accents all the way through their political careers, amidst the potential for such prejudice. I don't know how Americans perceive Clinton, but here, he is quasi-revered. As a matter of fact, many US presidents and those of high status did not have Midwestern accents. There are countless other examples, bar mediatic stereotyping, so how do you account for this outright catch-22?